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NOAA needs an 'umbrella' climate data _ services portal

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					    Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting
    David Herring   • 301-734-1207   •   David.Herring@noaa.gov   •   May 23, 2008




Overview
• Perspective on inter-agency collaboration
• Thoughts on design for user interaction
       Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting


       First, define whom we seek to serve and why

• Think of specific users and their/our desired user experiences
   – Conversely, don’t try to serve scientists & educators & political
     leaders in one interface
   – Avoid beginning with “what we want them to know / have”

• For example: “We provide climate data & services to climate
  research scientists, climate modelers, & applied data &
  services users to…
   … help them advance understanding of Earth’s climate system
   … help them improve the accuracy and resolution of climate
    models
   … help them make more informed decisions in their lives &
    livelihoods
   … help them scientists improve societal decision support systems”
Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting
     Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting

     Rationale for an ‘umbrella’ NOAA climate
     data & services portal
• NOAA is the U.S. agency responsible for assessing the past
  & present state of Earth’s climate; and forecasting its future
   – Potential data & services users are likely to visit NOAA’s
     Web domain in search of climate data and/or services they
     can use
   – We should cultivate and reward users who come to NOAA for
     data & services
• Users would benefit from a comprehensive, one-stop
  shopping climate data & services portal that links together
  all NOAA data & services Web interfaces
   – There is a difference between availability and accessibility
   – The purpose of this portal is to make all NOAA’s climate data
     and services readily accessible to potential users
     Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting

     The “brand” of our data & services portal
     should be NOAA & climate

• NOAA is positioning itself as the logical choice to
  lead and host the U.S. National Climate Service
   – Our portal should support the vision of branding NOAA as an
     ‘authoritative,’ ‘credible,’ ‘honest broker’ in service to science
     & society

• To succeed in its NCS vision, NOAA’s supporting
  labs, centers, & partners must work collaboratively
   – This does not obviate other Web interfaces across the
     agency designed to assist users in searching for / retrieving
     NOAA climate data & services
   Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting

   Identify and address discreetly front-end
   versus back-end problems

• Front-end Problems
   – Audience focus and feedback
   – Interface design for usability / navigation
• Back-end Problems
   – Subject and/or dataset expertise
   – Desire for identity, credit, and funding
• Both Front and Back
   – Tools and vectors for search and retrieval
   – Tools and vectors for user interaction
     Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting

     Thoughts on design for user interaction


• Engage a usability design expert early in the design
  process
   – Conduct focus groups
   – Perform usability tests
     Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting

     Design for Intermediate users without
     frustrating Beginners or Experts

   Beginners              Intermediates                   Experts
Where do I start?      How do I specify / change      How do I make standing
                       file format?                   subscriptions?
What can I do here?
                       How do I fine-tune my          Where are my shortcuts &
What is the site’s
                       search?                        fast paths to my goal?
scope?
                       How do I import data into my   How can I avoid repetitive
How do I search?
                       analysis tools?                tasks?
How do I get help?
                       How can I improve my           How can I provide design
                       proficiency?                   feedback?
                       How do I rate my
                       experience?

                      Proficiency of users
               Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting

                                                                  A simple model of
                                    Decision
                                    Makers
                                                                  target audiences*
                                Science Policy             •    Moving up the pyramid, these publics
                                   Leaders                      decrease in size while increasing in
                               NOAA Advocates
                                                                their influence on science policy.
                                                                  •    Audiences in red play a role in
                           Scientists & Data Users                     setting policy about low-salience
                                                                       science issues. No others.*
                                 Public Media                            •
                                                              Audiences in green are those
                                                              typically targeted by agencies’
                     Educators & Students
                                                              ed & public outreach
                                                              programs
                                                                 • There is typically no wider
           Museums, Science Centers, and After School                participation in science
                & Community-based Programs                           policy process than the
                                                                     top two strata. Appeals are
                 Science Attentive Public, Citizen Scientists        sometimes made to
        Public
                                                                     science attentive publics
      Continuum Science Interested Publics
                                                                     when top two strata
                 Residual Public
                                                                     cannot agree.*
*Miller, J.D. (2004): “Space Policy and Science Policy Leaders in the United States.” A white paper presented to
NASA Headquarters; on-line at http://esdepo.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/files/NASA_Leadership_Report.doc
                  Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting

                  Centralized access, decentralized process
                                                                               NCS
                                                                               Home
                                                                               Page
       Data &             Climate             Climate                                            Climate
      Services           Education           Science                         For everyone        Progress
       Portal              Portal            Magazine                                             Portal
      For Peers           For Educators,         For Public                                         For Policy
      & Users             Students &             Continuum,                                         Leaders &
                          Publishers             Media & Peers                                      Peers


                                                                 Audience Expert


                                                            Subject Expert
                                                                                            Medium Expert
NOAA Data,
Models, &                                  NCS
Services                                                                NOAA CommComm,
                                                                         Ed Council, Public
                                                                         Affairs, Leg Affairs,
                                     Partnership                                  etc.
          Climate Program Office • Data & Services Portal Meeting

          Back-end approach to improved accessibility
Suppose you’re a [who] looking for a [what] because [why] …?
 Labs       Line Offices   Regional Ctrs   Observations   Public Affairs   Data Ctrs




…if we use a common ontology & tagging scheme, our information is accessible
from anywhere in NOAA’s Web domain, thus it matters less where users enter.

				
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